Extra special send-off for Mrs Mutch

There is no better way to mark the end of term and the end of #ilovemyschool week than recognising the significant contribution one of our longest standing teachers has made to both her school and her local community.

Wilma Mutch – whose classes from Nursery to P7 have all put together farewell tribute songs, dances, stories and comedy sketches for her – has taught at New Deer School for over 40 years. Her career at the school began in 1979 and she passionately enjoyed looking after P1 classes until being appointed head teacher in 2011.

Enjoying her last day today, Wilma’s planned retirement sparked the interest of both the school and wider community, and a special celebration is being held for her in the neighbouring public hall this morning (Friday 5 July).

Having been highly commended over the years for her practice in teaching infants, having many imaginative ideas to inspire children’s learning, Wilma was given special mention in an HMIE inspection report in 2005. She has been recommended to many teachers and students to visit and observe her approach and played an instrumental role in introducing learning through play in early years education locally.

Under her leadership as head teacher, New Deer School has been recognised for excellence in the Accelerated Reader programme and through a series of high profile achievements, including:

• December 2018 – Pride of Buchan Award in recognition of outstanding achievement in accelerated reading
• February 2019 – Very positive HMIE inspection (receiving ‘good’ and very good’ in all areas)
• May 2019 – Education Scotland’s Digital Schools Award
• June 2019 – First Minister’s Reading Challenge (school that has read most books)

Class teacher Vicki Paterson explained: “Mrs Mutch is also very well known for her links with the local community. She uses local contacts to maximise children’s learning, she has organised maths in the community days and health weeks with local businesses, she has involved local judges for singing and poetry competitions, coordinated regular visits to Culsh Care Home for the children and supported many local volunteers who help with lunchtime and after school clubs, not to mention supporting New Deer Show. Mrs Mutch always strives to ensure pupils have a range of engaging learning experiences and we are so grateful for all of the professional learning opportunities she has given us as staff too.”

Wilma herself runs a sewing club at the school and even enjoys playing games with the school children at lunchtime.

Director of Education and Children’s Services, Laurence Findlay is going along to the leaving celebration to recognise Wilma’s fantastic achievements. Having started school as a youngster in Fraserburgh 40 years ago this year, Laurence is particularly keen to mark Wilma’s long service and dedication. He commented: “Wilma has continually shown the full extent of her dedication over the years and we are so grateful and thankful for all she has done.

“Earlier this year inspectors noted the caring, nurturing and inclusive environment across the school and nursery, the strong teamwork of staff and the very effective relationships across the school community as being influential in learning. All these strengths are driven by strong leadership in the school and I think we all have much to learn from the wonderful Mrs Mutch.”

Wilma is looking forward to her new role as grandparent and hopes to continue to support her community too.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Chair of Aberdeenshire’s Education and Children’s Services Committee added: “Thank you so much, Wilma, for all of your hard work and dedication. You are a credit to both New Deer and Aberdeenshire and we’d like to wish you the very best in your new adventures.

“We are very proud of our fantastic teaching staff and would also like to wish all of our school staff a very happy summer holiday!”